MIAMI (CBSMiami) — City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told reporters on Wednesday he was ‘shocked’ by the County’s decision to close indoor dining beginning on Thursday.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced a decision to roll back restaurant openings on Monday amid rising coronavirus cases, but he later decided outdoor dining and take-out will be allowed.
The decision impacts countless restaurants across Miami-Dade County’s more than 30 cities. Some restaurant owners have pushed back, fearing the latest Executive Order will force them to permanently close their doors.
At a food distribution in Little River on Wednesday morning, Mayor Suarez said he never heard from Mayor Gimenez about the executive order and has not spoken with him in three weeks.
“It’s disappointing because what happens is as a mayor of one city, if we do an executive order, it affects our city and there’s 33 other cities that it doesn’t effect,” Mayor Suarez said. “As the Mayor of Dade County, when you implement an order, it affects all 34 cities so I think he has an obligation to communicate with the cities. And not just with the cities but with the industries, which I think unfortunately, he [Gimenez] did it sort of backwards.”
The executive order begins on July 9 and allows take-out and outdoor dining with no more than 4 people at a table. Gyms were initially told to close, but Mayor Gimenez later reversed that call.
On Tuesday, roughly 50 Miami-Dade restaurant owners sent a letter to local leaders including Mayors Gimenez and Suarez. The letter called for scientific evidence that restaurants are the source of the spike of COVID-19 cases in Miami-Dade County.
“There are restaurants, we know, they have not complied,” said owner of Giardino’s Salads Ody Lugo. “And those are the ones that should be shut down, not the entire industry.”
On Wednesday, Mayor Suarez called for more communication from the County Mayor’s office and contact tracing to justify the decision to close indoor dining.
“I just think these are decisions that are very impactful,” Mayor Suarez said. “There needs to be a lot of consultation, there needs to be a lot of justification for a decision of that manner.”
In an email to CBS4, Mayor Carlos Gimenez pushed back on the notion his office is not transparent.
“I meet with the League of Cities three times a week, and members are aware of all of the County’s processes,” Mayor Gimenez’s office wrote in an email sent to CBS4 from his spokesperson Patty Abril. “All municipalities are welcome at the table, but some choose not to be there, and then are ‘surprised’ or ‘shocked’ at our announcements.”
“As everyone is aware, our decision-making process involves in-depth consultations with our team of medical experts and is 100 percent based on facts, not impulses,” Mayor Gimenez’s email reads. “Fact: Our positivity rate is over 20%. Fact: Our ICU bed numbers are in red flag territory.”
Here’s a response from Miami-Dade County Mayor Gimenez.
— Brooke Shafer (@BrookeShaferTV) July 8, 2020